4 Fresh Fruits for Winter

January 18, 2022

If the eight or more inches of snow outside my window right now are any indication, nothing is growing right now in Upstate NY. However, winter weather doesn’t mean you have to completely sacrifice fresh produce. These are my four favorite fresh fruits for winter cooking and baking that will keep your dishes bright and sweet.

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It’s so easy to enjoy fresh fruit from local sources in the summer and fall, when we can just pop by a local you-pick, farm stand, or market. However, when stuck in the middle of the frozen season, you have to think a little bit harder about the best produce to buy.

There’s a good chance your local grocery store carries a variety of fresh fruit throughout the year – even in winter. But due to the distance these have to travel, the quality can take quite a hit, compared to those yummy local fruits you may remember from summer.

These four options are perfect choices. While they may not be entirely local, especially when you live seven states away from the nearest one without snow on the ground, these four types of fruit shine in the winter months, specifically. Which one is your favorite: citrus, apples, bananas, or strawberries?

Citrus

Sure, you can get oranges and lemons and limes at the grocery store all year long, but did you know that they are actually in season during the winter? When you get these fruits in the summer, you are likely getting them from the southern hemisphere, like South America if you are in the US.

This time of year, you can get citrus that is just a bit more local. The Florida season lasts from October through early June, and in California, it’s just about a month behind. That means throughout all of the bitter cold months, you can get the best citrus.

Up here, we even get more varieties this time of year, like white grapefruits and mandarin oranges, in addition to the more common lemons, limes, navel oranges, and ruby red grapefruits.

Apples

Late-season apple varieties were picked around the end of October and the beginning of November, which is why we always tend to think of apples as a fall fruit. But there are certain types that keep for months, making them an excellent choice for winter.

Thick-skinned, hardy types of apples are the best this time of year. Granny Smith, EverCrisp, Empire, and RubyFrost all do well when cellared — the technical term for storing apples. For the best results, keep your long-term apples stored with high humidity, just above freezing. The crisper drawer in your fridge works well, or a basement, garage, or shed.

These more tart apples tend to hold their shape when cooked, making them perfect for baking as well. Think of all the pies, tarts, crumbles, and crisps you will be enjoying all throughout the winter with your cellared apples.

Fresh fruit in the winter? Yep, it’s totally possible with these four fruits that are perfect for all your winter treats!

Bananas

These tropical fruits are the perfect fresh fruit for winter because they don’t have a harvest season at all. Bananas are ready whenever they want to be, so you can get the same quality of fruit all year round.

So why do I consider them perfect for winter? Well, in the summer and fall, I am often distracted by more local produce. This time of year is perfect for bananas to shine, since they are not overshadowed.

Not only that, but banana recipes tend to be cozy. They pair wonderfully with warming liquors like whiskey and rum. And you can’t forget about the true staple of winter baking: banana bread!

Strawberries

Nope, that’s not a typo. Strawberries are actually my favorite of all the winter fruits, and the reason is Florida strawberries. These sweet, darker berries just hit differently than their year-round grocery store counterparts.

But if you are on the west side of the US, winter is the best time for California berries as well. The season for these is from January through May in the southern part of the state, which means fresh winter berries throughout the region.

Strawberries have a distinct spring and summer feel, which means you can imagine yourself in warmer weather as you munch on these sweet treats. They are also a great choice for Valentine’s day with their near-heart shape and red hue.

Now that you are prepared with a handful of delicious winter fruits and a whole bunch of recipes to try them in, there’s nothing stopping you from delicious fruit-forward desserts throughout the whole winter! Well, except maybe the snow storm. But next time you make it out of the house to grocery shop (or order delivery), be sure to pick up some of these yummy options.

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